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Tax Discriminates Against Coal, Ore, Energy Miners, Barnett Says

Australia’s new resources tax, which was changed by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in an announcement today, is still flawed and disciminates against coal, iron ore and energy miners, Western Australia Premier Colin Barnett said in an interview on ABC Radio today.

“It will be interesting when they draft legislation, if they are returned to government, what happens in terms of passage of this through the Commonwealth parliament,” Barnett said. “If it is a tax on the resource, they may have constitutional issues in putting that legislation through.

‘‘I don’t support a new mining tax. We don’t know what it means for the North-West Shelf project, which was underpinned by the state of Western Australia 30 years ago.

‘‘As far as the iron ore industry goes, sure they’ve spoken to the BHP and Rio, which are the large producers, but where does it leave the new producers, such as the magnetite producers. Are they going to be drawn into this?

‘‘This is by definition, discriminatory in the mining industry. It’s coal, iron ore and petroleum today. If the nickel price trebles, will it become nickel tomorrow? It’s a lot better than it was, I concede that. But we now have discriminatory taxation, a new tax on mining and one that I think is highly uncertain into the future. It is taking more wealth from this state. My concern is not for the big companies; they’ve done their deal and they are presenting it as a deal for the mining industry and presumably for this state. They’re not representing Western Australia, they’re representing their own interests. They do not speak for the mining industry.”

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